Matale Highlands and Cooking Experience from Dambulla (Private Day Tour)
The Secrets of Sri Lanka – Matale Tour takes you to three lesser known, but amazing, location in the area of Matale. You will first view the beautiful, historic and completely mysterious Nalanda Gedige. Then you will have a fun filled visit in the form of the Euphoria Spice and Herbal Gardens in Matale. You will then move onto a serious note with the secretive and ancient rock temple Aluvihara. Finally, you will visit the spectacular Sembuwatta Lake at sunset, making for some amazing views.
- Discover the Hindu-Buddhist fusion architecture of Nalanda Gedige.
- Get a first-hand experience and knowledge about spices and herbs, and how they are grown.
- A chance to buy the spices, herbs or even products made from them, direct from the source.
- A brilliant cooking demonstration and lunch depicting the best use of spices and herbs.
- A chance to see the secretive caves and learn the history of the rock temple Aluvihara.
- Get to see the bright and colorful images and sculptures in the Image House of Aluvihara.
- An optional complimentary sunset visit to Sembuwatta
- Transport throughout the tour with an air-conditioned vehicle.
- Service of an English-Speaking Chauffer Guide.
- 1 Liter of Bottled Mineral Water Per Person.
- Tuk Tuk Ride to Sembuwatte Lake.
- Hotel Pick & Drop.
- All Taxes & Service Charges.
- Entrance Fees (Nalanda Gedige, Aluvihara, Sembuwatta Lake).
- Food or Drinks.
- Gratuities (Optional).
- Expenses of Personal Nature.
What to Expect
Your private tour begins at 0800 hrs when your vehicle picks you up from your Dambulla hotel. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you, if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel. It will take one and half hours to reach your first destination, Nalanda Gedige in Matale.
Nalanda Gedige is an old Dravidian (Pallava era) structure believed to have been built between the 8th to 10th century. At first view it’s an obviously Hindu temple from the detailed wall and roof architecture, to the little windowless main shrine. However, the ruins of the erotic tantric sculptures, and plain moonstone point to a more Buddhist origin. After viewing this structure and discussing it with your tour guide, you will be leaving for Euphoria Spice and Herbal Gardens at approximately 1000 hrs.
You will get there by 1015 hrs where you will initially receive a one hour tour of the spice and herbal gardens. During the tour you will get to know more about the different spices and herbs, as well as how they are grown and harvested. You will leave the spice gardens at approximately 1115 hrs for the rest of your tour.
It will take up to approximately 1145 hrs to get to Aluvihara, which is supposed to mean ‘light temple’ or ‘cave with light’ based on two different beliefs. Aluvihara is most famous as the place of creation of the Buddhist religious script ‘Triptaka’. The stupa is literally built on top of a large rock. Meanwhile, the rock itself is riddled with a cave system. As of present 13 caves have been found, with many more buried under old cave-ins. You will have to climb up and through the rock to see the historic and interesting insides of these caves and learn more about the history within.
After an interesting hour spent poring over the interesting sights you will be leaving Aluvihara at approximately 1245 hrs and spend some time having lunch at one of the good restaurants in the area (At your own expense). Thereafter visit to Sembuwatta Lake located in the Elkaduwa area. You will get there approximately by 1515 hrs. Sembuwatta is an artificial lake made from a natural spring in the area. It’s famed for its amazing views and natural swimming pool. You will be spending a relaxing hour here, allowing you to take some spectacular photos with the setting sun.
You will be leaving the lake at 1630 hrs and returning to Dambulla by 1930 hrs completing your tour.
Comfortable Walking Shoes Recommended for this tour.